Hilary Hahn - Does perfect technique mean no musicality?

October 28, 2006 at 05:28 AM · I am sick of people calling Hilary Hahn's playing "boring", "unmusical", or just "too perfect!" Please share your thoughts on this matter by backing up your opinions.

Check out this awesome video of her on youtube:


Replies (100)

October 28, 2006 at 07:08 AM · I have never heard anyone call Hahn "boring", "unmusical", or just "too perfect". And I have not heard anyone, but you that is, say that she has the best technique ever :)

I have never heard anyone say that she is not among the foremost violinist in her generation, simply because she is.

October 28, 2006 at 03:02 PM · I agree with Mattias. I do not agree with some of her interpretations, and I do not think she is mature enough yet to really be great for some of the things she does, e.g., Mozart sonatas, but she is surely one of the great contemporary violinists.

October 28, 2006 at 04:08 PM · "She arguably has the best technique ever…..does this give her no chance at being musical?"

How could technique remove the chance to be musical? Superb technique (as if I would know) frees the mind for greater tasks.

I'm admittedly ignorant of most of her performances. But I heard.....something.....on the radio and it was lifeless and dull IMO. I forgot what it wqas because I was so nonplussed by it. Turned out to be HH! A few days later I heard the Barber Concerto on the radio and I was so impressed (mature, exciting, beautifully articulated) I waited to hear who had played it. HH again!

October 28, 2006 at 04:37 PM · It looks like I should listen to HH's more recent recordings. Her Bernstein Serenade somehow bored me to tears.

October 28, 2006 at 07:27 PM · Wow! really, Kevin? I think her performances of that piece define it. I remember hearing her first performance of it at ENCORE when she was very young. Anita Pontremoli playing piano. It was one of the single most unforgetable concert experiences of my life...and of most of those in attendance that night.

That evening was the quietest I have ever witnessed in the chapel at ENCORE. The audience was listening so intently, they seemed afraid to breathe!

I wonder if somehow the digital recording technology and the utlra-clean sound that comes with it doesn't sterilize the sound on many recordings? Might be interesting to explore at some point.

October 28, 2006 at 07:35 PM · I actually do think Hahn is quite a boring player, not because she has perfect technique, but because she seems completely unwilling to take any sorts of risks whatsoever in her playing. Not that I favor the approach of someone like Anne-Sophie Mutter, but I still look for the performer to bring something new to the pieces they play. Hahn plays like she has a metronome in her pocket, and especially in Bach, seems so concerned to play individual notes with beautiful tone that she forgets about the larger structure of the piece. To me her Chaconne sounds like an etude compared to other recordings like Menuhin's or Milstein's. Granted I have yet to hear her live, but I'd never buy her recordings because her technique isn't so much better than everyone else's that it offsets their artistry.

October 28, 2006 at 08:41 PM · I think there are two ways of interpreting this. One, focuses on a virtuoso becoming became, and another focuses on raw, soulful, maybe even risky treatment.

Classical music often deconstructs folk and puts it back together. Is something lost in the process? I think only if we forget from whence it came, and give credit where it is due.

The narrow channels of expression sometimes reflected in folk, are yet another layer of getting at where I am with this. Let Haun become...

For one who has gone the distance for perfect technique, far be it from me to say where they will go, or become. I feel it is a little unfair to look at someone youthful with perfect technique and take away from that.

Had I her technique, even discipline, I might never diverge from that track into risk taking either. I at the same time, love some of the things I've done experimentally on other instruments, and would only hope that in her future would be some sort of similar 'thrill in discovery'.

I just watched her doing Bach concerto Am, 3rd mvt., and though cannot really assess anything at this point, found it excellent and inspiring. There in my mind though, are gypsy fiddlers at this moment in Armenia taught by traditions, that are intimidating the Gods.

These are two really different tracks. The classicist would hope the prodigical son might come home, and the generalist would let the music lead the way entirely. I wouldn't want to utter a single word that would effect her choices..... I say let her become.

I have found in general, that many musicians intent on their methods and so forth, are near opposite those who have gotten it through other modes. An example from football: Sometimes, oversize defensive linemen have to be taught to be agressive on the field because of the "don't pick on people smaller than yourself" factor.

Who's to say whether she will be able to get herself to step outside the box into originality? Certainly not me. I'm not even sure that I would want her to.

I think like doctors and teachers, musicians are born, though either can be constructed on some level. Time will tell. And no, I don't find perfect technique boring. al

October 28, 2006 at 08:50 PM · Well I've never really cared for the Lark Ascending until I heard her play it. I think she has a pure sound and clean style of playing that lends itself well to this particular piece. Although I like some of her other work, I like it better by someone else. For instance, I prefer Szering for Bach. It's like vocalists,...they can't do everything "the best" some music is more appropriate for their particular gift,...I think HH is the same. Her playing reminds me of Haley Westrena's singing,...stunngingly clean and pure but I doubt Haley Westrena would sing Wagner well at all.

October 28, 2006 at 09:18 PM · Hmmm... I remember when people were fond of remarking that Heifetz played without emotion. They said he was "cold". You know, I didn't really understand their point of view then, and I find myself in a similar place on this one. Again, maybe the recording process has something to do with it? Digital splicing might make it seem more than "human" in its over-all "correctness". Just a thought.

However, having said that, I really hope Hilary's artistry can be acknowledged (or at least given the benefit of the doubt)for the truly extraordinary thing that it is.

I suppose I may have an unfair advantage over some listeners, because my business is to spend the years of incredibly intense work with talented students hoping to achieve the level of playing of someone like Hilary. Every day, my work brings an awareness of the almost incalculable odds against any one person reaching the status of a soloist of her calibre--(yet I do try to help realize every student's potential to its utmost, then cast them to the world for it to decide whether or not they will become one of the "exalted" ones. I am a violin teacher, after all--not God).

But now, imagine having reached those heights through years of hard work, a grueling schedule and a daily quest to improve the standard even one notch higher... the untold hours...the challenges..the little defeats and the stresses which come with them...and the victories...and the stresses that come with them...

only to be perceived as being "dull". Wow. To me,something seems incongruous here. Hilary still has a fabulous career. For one thing, she must not seem all that dull to everyone out there, yet there are those who apparently hear her that way.

I think if you listen to her and consistently feel unmoved, its fine to conclude you don't like her playing. I can understand that. But---I would hope you might try and listen with different ears--ears which listen with an understanding of what she has put into her playing, what she is trying to do with her career and the impact she has on the violin world just by putting herself out there every day. Hopefully, Hilary's critics and supporters alike can respect her accomplishments and all the work she puts into making her playing beautiful--not to mention the burden of the incredible standard she is upholding.

I really do believe that the commercial recording process may be at least partially responsible for the perception that it is "too perfect". But again, I have an unfair advantage over many, in that I heard her in her early years while she worked with Jascha Brodsky. I watched her develop. I bring that background with me when I listen to her recordings today. I hear the same person at the core of those recordings---and I find it quite beautiful.

October 28, 2006 at 10:12 PM · "Superb technique...frees the mind for greater tasks"

The problem with violinists is that by the time they achieve superb technique, the mind is too tired for greater tasks:)

Just a blatant generalization, nada mas.


October 28, 2006 at 10:28 PM · nicely put Ilya--I have the opposite problem. I spend too much time thinking about expression, musicality, and making my violin become the lyre of the poet to ring throughout the ages......and I sometimes forget that I still have to play in tune. :) lol

October 28, 2006 at 10:32 PM · who ever said that the aforementioned lyre has to be in tune?


October 28, 2006 at 11:09 PM · Those scumbags making in-tune violin records!

October 29, 2006 at 12:53 AM · funny, but can you extrapolate?...........

October 29, 2006 at 01:13 AM · Nah, we're just goofing around. :)

October 29, 2006 at 01:23 AM · If you can check out the Facebook group Hilary Hahnisms. It is filled with mostly good natured humor that pokes fun at Hilary's amazing skills.

October 29, 2006 at 02:16 AM · Watch her videos on YouTube or see her live... the incredibly capable playing is not an illusion created by clever editing.

Ms. Hahn is an incredible craftsperson, and the efficiency and sublime perfection of her violin playing is really breathtaking. As for what she says with those very fine tools, I cannot say that I bust a knee cap running to get one of her new records. In fact I don't think I've listened to her CDs since I bought them for the first time.

Whenever she gets interviewed, she doesn't seem like she knows what she wants to say, and although she doesn't fumble over her words, she always succeeds in saying absolutely nothing. I think that lends itself to her playing, which will change over time. It's true that few violinists or any person of any field will match her level of aptitude for her craft, but unfortunately getting all the notes with quite some brilliance does not necessarily communicate this "human experience" thing we've got going.

October 29, 2006 at 03:12 AM · I agree. I think--I hope--that she will develop more of an expressive voice as she matures. She's sure got the technique to pull it off!

October 29, 2006 at 08:46 AM · An interpolation would be that when you have enough people playing their lyres in-tune, a demand seems to be put on the others. In other words, it keeps the lyres honest.

October 29, 2006 at 03:41 PM · Her new CD got a very good review in the New York Times.

October 29, 2006 at 04:58 PM · Anyone who can play Bach like Hilary Hahn has no problem with being "unmusical." Only an extremely musical person could play like that.

October 29, 2006 at 06:39 PM · I totally agree with you, Amy.

I don't think that someone could seriously question her musicality.

But I can understand when people don't like her approach. That is definitely a matter of taste or maybe even philosophy. And since she is very consequently pursuing her ideas about music, many people will disagree.

I, for example, just can't listen to Zehetmair's Bach, but I would never question his musicality. It's just completely different from my ideas about Bach's music.

October 29, 2006 at 09:18 PM · the anti-hahn talk is jealousy, plain and simple. point blank, ms. hahn is simply one of the greatest violinists in the world today.

October 29, 2006 at 09:27 PM · Mr. Wright,

I think you have to make a distinction between people who just don't like her musicality, but at the same time realize her incredible abilities, and those who are "jealous". With preciously few exceptions, everyone on this site wishes they could play as well as Ms. Hahn. Maybe it's not jealously, but I think you'd be lying if you tell me you wouldn't want to be as good as her.

Amy, about her Bach; your statement would very much depend on how you think Bach should be played. I don't think her Bach makes her unmusical, it's just not what I choose to listen to.

October 29, 2006 at 09:54 PM · I also believe that Hilary is very "safe" in her approaches to repertoire. It seems to me like she's playing these pieces in a way where everyone who listens will be pleased, and yes, her performances are always spot on and wonderful to listen to, but there is no risk involved with her playing.

To me, she plays most of her repertoire in the same style (her shostakovich and Mendelssohn sound extrememly alike in terms of tone and colors), but they are always perfectly in tune and pleasant.

The real question is: What would you do in this scenario? Hilary Hahn and someone like Maxim Vengerov or ASM or Sarah Chang are playing at the same time on the same night...who would you buy tickets for? I probably would go with the latter as my reason for going to a performance is to really see and hear a musical experience you can't experience on a CD and to me, watching hilary live just tends to feel like I was listening to one of her albums...

But I do agree that she has superb technique and has a very superstar international career, and i only wish her the best!

October 29, 2006 at 10:36 PM · Greetings,

I agree with Pieter that it is important to be clear what is really being said and by whom.

Anyone can turn round and say HH is rubbish. But no rational perosn cna justify thta staement. The objective prrof is that she is being discussed on this list.

However, I have no problems abotu saying I don`t like her playing very much. It just isn`t my scene, so yes, I have attended her recitals and been slightly bored after a while. But I have still been fascinated by what she does and how she does it for an initial period which makes the money well spent.

I also think I have the right to say she palyed a piec ebadly as she doid `Paganiniana ` recently. And I am perfectly capable of spelling out why it was bad, not just taste but error strewn. This was highlighte dfurther by a comparison with the immaculate palyiung in the rest of the program.

This kind of critique is perfectly fair, firstly because i paid for an expensive ticket, and secondly it is always made with the understanding that there are oinly a handful of peopel in th e world doing what she is doing. An olymic athlete who comes last is still a marvel (unless they are British).

If the criticism is reasonable then it can lead to useful discussion which who knows, HH might even join in oneday... for example, I always keep in mind thta any player who comes to Japan is going to be a) jet lagged b) culture shocked c9 simpley may not have practice time. Ten hours on a plane is going to put the body out of whack however profesisonal one is. That is one aspect.

Anotehr I felt was that from what I have read HH does not spend much time on scales and techncial work these day. Who can blame her with the schedule of such a player. But to some extent that semees to me affecting her showpieces a little. That is not contraditory with the unique accuracy of her new Paginin disc. It actually makes the point that when a great artist sits down and really gets ready then one is actually seeing a little bit of history being made.

As far as risks are concerned, I think there are diffenret kinds and Hh does her fair share. Example, everything on the program from memory including Enescu sonata which I suspect was a little new to her. Or starting with a murderously difficult Ysaye without a hint of fear. The days of warming up with the Handel d major are long gone!

Then the program was diversiifed enough in itself to call it a kind of risk. One of the wonderfil things about HH is she isa mainstream player who is push9ing the enevlope a bit in terms of repertoire and thta should have a good knock on effetc across the violin world , I hope.

So, having blathered on enough, I feel quite comfortable in saying iI find HH `slightly boring@ with apologies to my long lost Swedish offspring et al,



October 30, 2006 at 04:38 AM · Ah... the Divine Miss H! (I just started calling her that one day, and now I can't stop!) She does deserve her own thread.

The greatest and most perfect technique ever? I don't know about that. Just off the top of my head a few names pop out - Heifetz, Nadien, Silverstein etc. etc. She may be in the Himalayas of technique - but I wouldn't call her Everest. (I'd be thrilled just to be in those foothills!)

But not musical?? I think she's quite musical. There are different ways of being musical. Some play in a more dramatic style, or in the grand manner. I think that Hilary takes a more subtle approach, within which I hear a good deal of feeling and expressiveness. I hear a shimmering tone with a silvery beauty, and more of a range than some others think - from a sweet reasonableness to a finely etched ardent passion.

I expect that the best is yet to be. She also seems like a very nice, down-to-earth person, and I wish her a great life and a continued great career.

October 30, 2006 at 03:35 AM · Ms. Hahn is giving a recital here in January, and I am looking forward to hearing her live. I have a good number of her CDs, and I like her playing. What I admire most about her technique is that the vibrato is always going...no spigot-on, spigot-off style that drives me bonkers.

October 30, 2006 at 03:46 AM · :)


October 30, 2006 at 06:16 AM · Greetings,

ah, Yurin Spigotoff, the well known violinist from St. Havitoff. Where`s he playing these days?



October 30, 2006 at 08:51 AM · hmm...was that a violinit joke that i did not comprehend?

October 30, 2006 at 11:10 AM · Buri, last I heard he was all washed up.


October 30, 2006 at 11:17 AM · Patrick,

Yes, except it wasn't really a violinist joke


October 30, 2006 at 12:43 PM · Of course "Perfect technique" does not imply boring. I think this criticism is usually directed from people who are jealous. The person who claims this is REALLY saying "I FEEL the music more so I'm better, even if I can't play as well"....I think that it certainly IS possible to be technically amazing and boring. Nonetheless, if a violinist is to make it on the solo circuit, he/she MUST be technically solid..


October 30, 2006 at 03:00 PM · hmm...ilya..buri...im confused..



October 30, 2006 at 03:52 PM · Danny boy...

I don't think anyone here has said implicitly that they think they're (love that alliteration) better than Hillary Hahn. Relax, take a couple of valiums, then go pass out on the couch for a few hours. That vein on your forhead is scaring the children.

October 30, 2006 at 07:02 PM · "What I admire most about her technique is that the vibrato is always going...no spigot-on, spigot-off style that drives me bonkers."

Constant vibrato drives me even more bonkers than I already am. I can't even listen to players who do that. Great players don't just turn it on and off like a spigot; it is usually done with care.

I play Hammond organ, and the vibrato most definitely has an "off" button. Why would they have put it there?

October 30, 2006 at 07:32 PM · Peter,

First of all, my name is not Dannyboy...Once we have that settled I'll be happy to talk to you on a polite basis...I refuse to exchange insults.

What I'm trying to imply, which Peter obviously never understood, is that a firm technical grounding means that you can express yourself musically easily (well, easier than most)

Although some might not like the personal musical taste of certain artists, it doesn't make them "unmusical". Furthermore, the implication that someone who has made it is "unmusical" is insulting.

Ever hear the jealous, racist, and disgusting statement "Asians are technically wonderful but don't feel the music as well"? I don't believe that because someone is Asian, they can't be musical - One might not like a particular performer's style, but if he/she has made it to the top, the odds are that he/she is musical...music and technique are Siamese twins...each needs the other.

I'll take it a step further - those who are not musical will not achieve the level of making and understanding phrases..What the poster probably really is alluding to is Hillary Hahn's temperament and how she was taught technique.


October 30, 2006 at 07:19 PM · SH wrote:

"Constant vibrato drives me even more bonkers than I already am. I can't even listen to players who do that. "

Neither can I. I inherited a tape recording of an anonymous violinist playing the Thais and other violin pieces using the same and rather-wide vibrato on every single note. I had to stop the tape after a few minutes.

October 30, 2006 at 07:36 PM · Daniel,

First of all, our friend Mr. Viljoen's name is Pieter, not Peter. Second of all, what does the statement about unmusical Asians have to do with anything? Hahn sure isn't Asian...

October 30, 2006 at 08:12 PM · Daniel Broniatowski:

No one is calling her unmusical. I just don't like how she plays. You're preaching to the choir, now step off your soap box before you get altitude sickness.

October 30, 2006 at 09:12 PM · hello,

I admire very Hilary Hahn's playing very much, she seems to be one of the only performers out there who has real balls to her playing- the only i would criticise are her tempi, she plays everything a bit too fast for my liking.

And in response to one of the posts above- Hahn over Vengerov any day.

October 30, 2006 at 10:38 PM · Greetings,

I think I finally solved the knotty conundrum operating here.

Hilary Hahn is possibly the most boring of the top five players in the world today.

Glad I finally figured out. Thanks everyone,



October 30, 2006 at 10:47 PM · you are wicked buri, violin gods will haunt you tomorrow:)

October 31, 2006 at 12:44 AM · Maura,

I didn't call him Peter on purpose. You should have realized it. It's a far cry from Dannyboy. Her being or not being Asian has nothing to do with the matter, and I wasn't directing a personal insult at him, which is what he obviously did to me and must keep doing for reasons unbeknownst to me.

I was outlining the attitude of people who make assumptions of those players who might be boring to them, but are certainly not unmusical. How would you (or Pieter) like it if I called your playing unmusical?? I'm sure Ms. Hahn must have feelings and emotions too.

By the way...definition of musical..

"Fond of or skilled in music" from Webster...

Definition is not

"I dislike his/her interpretation so they have no musical ability"


October 31, 2006 at 12:20 AM · I know you didn't call him Peter on purpose, I was just neutrally pointing out a mistake. And I still don't know what you're getting at with the Asian thing...

October 31, 2006 at 12:42 AM · I'm pointing out petty comments that are made about people who are complimented as having impressive technique but then are stereotyped as having no musicality or feeling in their performances.

October 31, 2006 at 12:50 AM · daniel,

you hit the nail right on the head.


i'll explain it a little differently than daniel.

hilary hahn's interpretation is introverted rather than warm. she aims to excite the mind rather than the heart, which is a different take on the art of the violin than is usually popularly accepted.

myself, daniel, and a few others on this thread above have pointed out that hilary's musical introversion shouldn't be counted against her, nor should it be discounted because of her phenomenal technique. it may be that her apparent artistic reserve is part of her human psychological makeup.


i will grant you that you may appreciate one facet of her playing while not agreeing with another part. that is valid. hilary's interpretive personality not to everyone's liking; she may have more to learn about communicating personal warmth through her musicianship beyond just admiring her technique. unlike julia fischer or vengerov, hilary isn't particularly lyrical and doesn't particularly stand out in terms of musical subtlety. however, as one of top draws in the modern touring circuit, it's obvious that somebody enjoys her musicianship. after all, audiences generally don't pay to hear performers run scales and arpeggios.

the reason i say the anti-hahn ideal is due to jealousy is because i never hear non-performing classical music listeners say ms.hahn is boring. i only hear that complaint from her fellow violinists. that line of reasoning is rather sketchy to me and smacks of envy. if such doesn't apply to you, i apologize for insinuating it would.

October 31, 2006 at 01:29 AM · Greetings,

Daniel, only Salman Rushdie can hold a long sentence as coherently as you. Kudos.


October 31, 2006 at 01:40 AM · Amen Mr. (Ms.?) Wright!

October 31, 2006 at 02:10 AM · It would work much better if he'd say "and are then". "Then are" makes it feel like a run on.

In any case, I've always advocated having respect for performers. You'll never see me trash anyone like Hillary Hahn. I'm just saying that I don't agree with what she has to say musically. As for very recently I've gotten into Bach and for me, it is quite revealing about who you are as a musician. To me that recording, along with the Elgar and Brahms discs that I own, I do not currently find her to be pleasing to either my mind or heart. What is is joy to see (and as a violinist I could sit through a lot of this), is the beauty and ease of her craft. She plays so gracefully and with a perceived lack of effort which is to me quite beautiful in and of itself. Trust me, if you're talking about just motion itself, there are some players whose playing I love, but I find them looking uncoordinated, and not pretty to watch.

I think Ms. Hahn will evolve with time. I'm sure people must find her incredibly musical given her engagements. And guess what, that's great! Almost everyone I tell about one of my favourite Bach records turns their nose up, says it's terrible. That doesn't really get me mad.

Also, Dannyboy is a term of endearment. If you were infront of me, I'd pinch your cheek and pat you on the head. I'm sorry it came off the totally wrong way. It was sort of meant to be detached from the chill pill comment.

October 31, 2006 at 02:30 AM · A term of endearment...just like the valium comment..I've never met you and you already want to pinch my cheeks huh?..Now that you've also changed your story, at least we all know that you fessed up

October 31, 2006 at 02:30 AM · Daniel,

If I wanted to call you something nasty I would have done so. I called you danny boy to difuse what would come later.

You seem really touchy.

I never changed my story, I still think you're taking this way too seriosly. Chill out.

October 31, 2006 at 02:44 AM · Pieter,

The point is that you meet all kinds of people on this site - some will be working with you in the future, and some currently are your superiors. Others are younger, sometimes, much younger. All I'm saying to you is that you don't want to make anyone mad because we are all in this together and in the professional world, people don't call each other names. People in this business hold grudges and it certainly affects a musician's future. There are many violinists who play well.

Simple as that, case closed. Say whatever you want from here on but I'm done with this stupid argument.

- and by the way, calling people "affectionate" names is not affectionate when you insult them later.

October 31, 2006 at 02:47 AM ·

October 31, 2006 at 03:18 AM · Hey Buri,

I was just wondering who you think are today's top 5 violinists? I do agree that Hilary might be the boring one out of the bunch, but I just wanted to hear your opinion of the top violinists...

October 31, 2006 at 03:14 AM · "however, as one of top draws in the modern touring circuit, it's obvious that somebody enjoys her musicianship. after all, audiences generally don't pay to hear performers run scales and arpeggios."

Audiences generally pay to SEE performers--think rock concerts where you can hardly hear a thing.

October 31, 2006 at 03:25 AM ·


October 31, 2006 at 04:49 AM · Honestly, the more I experience about this classical music world the less I'm drawn to it. The people involved are often hyper sensitive, have almost non existent sense of humor, and this whole 2 degrees of separation thing means that there's an incredible amount of backtalking.

I've been through a lot of different social circles so far in my 21 years but I've never seen a group as two faced as classical musicians. They smile in front of your face but behind your back they'll say the most awful things just because they're s*** scared about how it can affect their career. It's funny that in an artform that is supposed to be all about honesty and exposing yourself, that the politics of it are lamer than grade school. That's probably why most of my good friends have nothing to do with this whole "industry". In fact, there are some people I've had problems with on this site, and one in particular I just found a great deal more respect for (as psychotic as he might be) because he actually has the nerve to say what's on his mind, sometimes.

I won't say anything more except that my track record with addressing soloists and others of enormous talent is quite good. Go back and read anything I've ever written, I acknowledge and respect the skill and incredible talent of a person like Ms. Hahn without fail. If I don't liek them musically it does not mean I'm admonishing them out of jealousy. Anyways, that's all I have to say about that.

October 31, 2006 at 04:45 AM · To say violinists who don't like Hahn's playing are jealous is just not true. I am not a professional violinist; I don't have any plans on becoming one, and I know that I don't have anywhere near the talent to do so. Therefore, it makes no absolutely no sense for me to be jealous of someone like Hahn; not only do I not want to do what she does, I know I never could. For any reasonable person, the latter is obviously implied when we criticize a professional musician.

That said, I think playing the violin and listening to a lot of recordings have made most people on this site pretty discerning listeners, so we are qualified to say that we don't like a performer even if we don't play as well. If I'd never heard a recording, of say, the Mendessohn VC before, I'd think Hahn's recording is beautiful, because the music is beautiful and she plays it very well. Having heard it hundreds of times with many different performers, however, I am looking for something special. It's only in that context that people say that Hahn is boring, and this has nothing to do with her technique, either.

October 31, 2006 at 05:33 AM · Marianne:

I haven't heared all of Hahn's recordings, but the tempi seem to resist genralizations. In Mendelssohn, she plays the last movement very fast, the other movements in about average time (Heifetz, Francescatti, and Milstien all have recordings that take almost 3 minutes less in total). It seems to me the Elgar is about average tempo. The Bach Chaccone takes an eternity. I noticed that the last movement of the Paganini 1 takes over 10 minutes, which makes it the slowest performance I've ever heard. I saw a live Dvorak last summer that was on the fast side.

I haven't made my mind up about her playing -- I liked the Mendelssohn but hated the Bach -- but can say that I have heard others call her playing "generic."


October 31, 2006 at 07:20 AM · A lot of her playing sounds like she is taking an audition. It's almost like she still has a teacher telling her what to do and what not to do so she can forward her career. Very careful playing...perhaps if some of the other young virtuosos were as careful with their playing it would seem as if they all had her "perfect" technique too.

I saw a leading orchestral player in one of the top orchestras play Sarasate's Carmen fantasy this summer, and it reminded me of this. All the notes were there, in tune, in time, and the tone and sound were always of good quality. But even though all the notes were there it seemed as if the music wasn't always there. There was no style.

I think some players believe the music will take care of itself if everything on the page is made audible. Sometimes it does alright. I like the last movement of her Brahms concerto and remember liking her Barber concerto. Neither is outstanding and on the top of my list though.

I really don't like her Bach. I can't stand the constant vibrato on her recording and Perlman's recording. First of all it distorts the chords, especially with open strings. Maybe if you play in a large concert hall and need to project and protect a large sound, or play over an orchestra, it makes sense. But it doesn't make sense to me on a solo studio recording. It might be the hardest effect to make decisions about, so some (or many) people just ignore that decision making process and use a heavy, though varying, vibrato constantly with no regard to the style or setting.

October 31, 2006 at 06:17 PM · "hilary hahn's interpretation is introverted rather than warm. she aims to excite the mind rather than the heart, which is a different take on the art of the violin than is usually popularly accepted."

D Wright, I think that is an incredibly insightful comment that deserves to be emphasized. Hilary has a very intellectual approach to her music, which is indeed different from many other musicians who seek to "touch your soul" or whatever. And indeed, I prefer Hilary to anyone else for Baroque and Classical music, though I really don't care for her interpretation of Romantic works. I wouldn't call her "unmusical" in any way, it's just that her mind-centered approach seems to fit better with the more structured style of the earlier periods.

And Pieter, while I agree that Hilary doesn't ever sound that articulate in interviews, I disagree that it's evidence that she doesn't know what she wants to say in her music. Some people just don't express themselves in speech that well. Hilary is a magnificent writer, and I find her journal entries about her music to be very thoughtful and compelling. In the end, they are all different and separate media for expression...as stated so eloquently by Gustav Mahler, "If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music."

October 31, 2006 at 06:35 PM · Here's a thought:

Suppose you were a composer, and for some reason you could only have ONE violinist record your entire body of work for posterity.

This is fantasy, so you could choose any violinist that lived in the last 100 years.

Would you even CONSIDER Hillary?

October 31, 2006 at 06:55 PM · I think Hilary is preoccupied with the intellectual aspect of the music and so, it may be the case that she thinks she is playing more viscerally than she is. She is assigning the emotions to what she hears rather than sending it out bound with the notes

But she is a fantastic player and no body can take that away from her ever.

Ruggiero Ricci considers her and Vadim repin the two violinists at the fore at the moment BECAUSE of her technical brilliance. (Definetly agree with Repin)

Perfect technique does not lead to sterility (Kogan) but over clealiness can "sand it down" as it were. Don't forget a pearl is made of sand

October 31, 2006 at 07:14 PM · The only thing I liked by HH was the Village soundtrack. I thought her playing was just beautiful on that soundtrack. But otherwise I am not that big of a fan.

October 31, 2006 at 08:06 PM · Allan - I would.

October 31, 2006 at 09:35 PM · Dear K.g.,

Hahn,s Paganini 3 movement is the original and is longer than the short version of Rabin, Perlman ,Midori, Chang and all the Galamian followers who never cared to play the original score....she plays it very fast and it is clean, light and played with great sens of humor...

A comment in general for all the previous anwers. It is in the human nature to have a tendancy to destroy what is unexplicable( genius) by mean comments...Did Heifetz played the Beethoven concerto or Bach as beautifully as Hahn, considering that she was 15 years old by the time of her recording? Does the portamento style of Heifetz in the Elgar means that he has more maturity than Hahn in the same work?

I stongly believe that in America, talents such as Hahn and James Ehnes are controversial actually because they do not fit into the mould of the Galamian way of playing : it is very different( bow technic in particular)and both are offering a different approch. Ehnes is more romantic, and in the footsteps of Kreisler and Oistrach,Hahn is more classic, in the footstep of Milstein( purity of tone and the line).

And I would add this: Jasha Heifetz was not a perfect performer...he made wrong notes, he forced the tone sometimes and made a few scratches or sometimes, broke the chords roughly...and he played Mozart, Bach or Beethoven with total musical aberration...His accompanist were not up to his level...Sometimes, he had no respect for the composer, imposing his strong personality first, musical content, second.Fabulous violinist , yes!!! But not the gratest musician of all...Unfortunately, because of an easy access of his recorded legacy, many performers were spolied by his majestic influence and choose the wrong direction...


October 31, 2006 at 10:19 PM · I'm pretty sure HH was actually 17 when she recorded her Bach (still pretty impressive.)

I also agree that it is sometimes human nature to blast geniuses with insults because we can't understand them/are jealous. But I disagree that that is what's happening here. Music is an art and everyone has different taste. Nothing in music or art is completely objective. Some of us just aren't absolutely wild about HH's playing, and that's just an opinion, it doesn't make us scumbags or rotten, jealous people. It's just as if I prefer Kandinsky to Monet, or Pushkin to Tolstoy. It's a personal opinion, that's all.

October 31, 2006 at 10:39 PM · Milsteins trademark was his treatment of the violin is an aristocratic instrument, I don't feel Hahn does that.

Age is irrelevant some people peak at 18 and don't improve and others peak at a time when nowadays nobody would be interested.

Galamian himself said that his techniques are purely to serve the individual artistry of the performer and not to achieve artistry as I feel many performers interpret it as. (my teacher was taught by galamian but all her students, however talented have an uncompromising individuality)

Heifetz was not perfect I agree but the intentions and so forth are so purposefully laid out that the imperfections don't matter (they ARE there) When the intention is technical perfection and having nothing to "complain" about (as "HH" has said herself she tries with her recordings) then the whole purpose is different.

With heifetz, milstein, kogan, oistrakh, etc you hear them playing the piece, you hear the piece coming from the performer as though uttered by the performer for the first time (think of the storms and tempests in kogans shostakovich passacaglia + cadenza). With most contemporary violinists you hear the composer and different interpretations of the pieces manifested by mainly rhythmic interpretations rather than sonorous ones.

In a climate of repeatable listens at a flick of a switch I think the lay person (non-musician) would prefer hearing the "perfect" composers rendition than the performers rendition where there WILL be things that the listener will disagree with.

October 31, 2006 at 10:38 PM · Maura,

She was 15 when she recorded the Beethoven concerto...you can read mean comments about her quite often on this site...rarely on Heifetz...

I just believe that this entire generation of violinist( during the past 40 years) have been spolied by listening to much recordings and by the " Cult of technique" which is the legacy of Heifetz...

October 31, 2006 at 10:54 PM · Greetings,

Patrick, sorry for the delay in answering. Computer wasn’t working .

The question of the top five violinists cannot really be answered as far as I am concerned because for all of the reasons mentioned above the whole issue is so complex and ultimately meaningless. A long list of players I would travel huge distances to hear would include Haendel, Tetzlaff, Zimmerman, Zeheitmer, Mullova Hahn, Midori, Repin, Batishvaeil ?, Fischer, Mutter, Vengerov, Gringolts, Nadien, 。。I give up before I even get to the new generation。

In general standards are so high now it is bizarre and it is this level which I think makes the kind of snapshot comparisons this kind of question is liable to provoke, somewhat less relevant than one might think. As an example, a few days heard a violinist who made the Hahn recital I attended seem grey in comparison. This guy played the best Zihgeunerweisen I have ever heard-by anyone- The left hand pizz was so brilliant the audience spontaneously burst out laughing. The warmth and beauty of the sound was breathtaking, variety of colors. Blah blah. I was dreading his Mozart sonata because his interpretation of showpieces in the first half were so unorthodox I was afraid he was going to butcher the Mozart. He sort of played like Gitlis on speed. (Sure enough it turned out he studied with Gitlis and Milstein.) Thankfully, His Mozart sonata (the same one Hahn played, but infinitely superior) was just another world of insight. Unbelievable.

But how many people except those right in the profession can immediately call to mind an egg shaped little guy with hands of a prize fighter who leads/led (?) the Tokyo Philaharmonie- Kino Masayuki (even I’m not sure if I remembered his second named correctly. ) Based on that snapshot one can come away with all kinds of negative comparisons with HH or anyone you please. But it comes as no surprise that someone who is in their late forties and had experience of all the Mozart repertoire is likely to understand the Mozart better than an up and coming artist . And at that age one has been playing showpiece like Sarasate, humoresque and the Kreisler works how many thousand times. He could afford to play Humoresque in 20th position because it is probably his millionth performance of that wretched piece. Could he travel round the world and relentlessly play concertos day in day out. I doubt it. For one thing, his physical conditioning wasn’t up to it. His body weight was at least three times what his frame could handle in the long haul.

Bit of a ramble but I must confess I would love to hear some memories of this very interesting Neaman /Gitlis/Milstein pupil who really is quite something….



October 31, 2006 at 10:59 PM · Florian,

Heifetz had a pattern, always the same for each piece he played ( piece the genre or concerto)...it is all predictable, calculated and always played with exactitude.

When you listen to Oistrach or Kreisler, you can feel their sens of "Improvisation" and inspiration of the moment...Martha Argerich, who has a technic comparable to Heifetz on the piano, never plays a piece the same way in concert...it is always different...Now, who can do this on the violin today?

What does mean aristocratic about Milstein...Heifetz was also aristocratic in a sens...

What I meant about Hahn vs Milstein, is the purity of sound, long and sustained bowing...of course ,they sound different, but the aim is similar.

October 31, 2006 at 11:08 PM · Buri,

your views on Hahn seems to be influenced by the same recital you have commented previously on past discussions...All violinist, great or not can have a bad day...I remember Perlman 20 years ago in a live performance who lost bow and left-hand control and started to shake during the Beethoven concerto...it sounded terrible...Milstein lost the control in a performance of the Tschaikovski and played the entire work without vibrato...you could feel he was not at ease with his instrument ...Next day, same concerto, all of that sensation of fear had dissapeared and he played beautifully...

I heard Hahn live a dozen of times, and all of her performances were of the highest standard...she can make wrong notes, that is not what I am listening to...sometimes I do not agree with some of her interpretations, but still ,I can admire her great talent...

October 31, 2006 at 11:33 PM · Greetings,

I`m just using the recital of closest proximity to make comparisons to be as relevant as posisble. I have most of her CDs as well as having heard her on anumbe rof ocassions.

Incidnetally, I have probably been the most consistent person here -by a long way=in insisting that even the greatest players have a bad day. I have even taken the time and trouble to systematiocally lsit those things because there are some factors otehr than the obvious ones which sometimes escape peoples attention. Thus so I have -absolutely no idea- why you are apparently making this point to me.

Incidentally, I have moire than suffieceint insight into the way people play to know that she wa snot having a bad day by any means. her recital was cool, calm, and a considerable artistic achievement.



October 31, 2006 at 11:50 PM · Marc, the reason no-one makes "mean" comments about Heifetz on here is, we've all figured out that if someone expresses even the slightest dislike of even a small aspect of Heifetz's playing, he or she will immediately get flamed!

And another thing, I don't see how saying that a particular violinist's style isn't your cup of tea is "mean".

November 1, 2006 at 12:10 AM · thoughts and opinions on hilary hahn aside...

what is Perfect technique? alright, we all have our conceptions of what will create the optimal effect(sound, response) on the violin, but once you take into account different schools of teaching, different holds, shoulder rests, and other paraphinalia, both palpable and not, it's just the same as two religions stating "my god is better than your god." arguing what is "perfect" technique just leads people in circles.

moving that aside, there is no way that good technique can Hinder musicality (WAIT, there's more!). If you are a well balanced musician, well-balanced meaning that you don't allow your worries of technique overbear your musicality, proper technique can only help fulfill any and all musical ideas that you would like to show. the reason that the idea of "perfect technique" leading to non-musicality, is that those violinists were so preoccupied with the technical aspect of playing that they neglected the "musical" part of it. that being said, there is certainly a difference between being a violinist, and being a true musician. cough* rabin* cough* :)


p.s. incidentally, could someone give a concise explanation of what "musicality" is, including not only interpretation, but correctly following simple guidelines of composers, period, etc.?

November 1, 2006 at 12:24 AM · Marc, people are just giving their honest opinions about her. I don't really think anyone's being "mean" here. Just about everyone who dislikes her playing at least admits that she has great technical ability, so it's not like everyone's out to spoil her name.

November 1, 2006 at 12:31 AM · eugene, i won't even attempt to answer that last question of yours. that's death wish territory.

November 1, 2006 at 12:45 AM · Eugene - re "musicality", there is a thread on that subject which begins, I believe, with the words "What is it to be..." I answered it there in my own way.

Allen - interesting question. I think it would all depend on the style and mood, etc. of the piece I'm writing. It is certainly conceiveable that I might want to hear Hilary play this or that. Years ago I started a sketch for a piece I call "Concerto Romantique". I know that it will always be on the back burners, but I had some fun with it. There, I particularly had the overall style and texture of Aaron Rosand in mind - so it all depends.

Everybody - I'm really about to open a can of worms now, I'm afraid, but here I go. How many people have clicked on other posters' names to see who they are, and what they're up to? I often do. I'm curious about people. I've begun to notice a certain pattern. I'm not going to name names. In fact the handful of names that I can bring to mind who often post are positive examples that I respect. But here's what I'm getting at. There's criticism, and there's CRITICISM. I've noticed (-and I'm not just talking about Hilary-) that those with impressive professional resumes tend to be more nuanced in their criticism, and more willing to point out admirable qualities in this or that artist, even if they don't admire or agree with other aspects. Those of us who are full-time or occasional soloists, members of respected orchestras or navigating crazy freelance schedules, or serious teachers, know just how demanding and daunting is the task of playing the violin at a high professional level. On the other hand I've seen some of the most scathing and unmitigated critiques come from some - let me emphasize SOME - people who list no credentials and sometimes no last name. Coincidence? Maybe. It's a free country, and a pretty free site, and everybody's entitled to my -er,THEIR! - opinion. Just an observation.

November 1, 2006 at 01:28 AM · Please, at least don't try the disingenuous BS of "just an observation". It was nothing of the sort. However, it was "just an opinion". ;)

There is of course no come back to garbage like that, especially from someone like me who's not a member of the annointed.


November 1, 2006 at 01:44 AM · is anyone here who is good enough to define musicality good enough to show it?

poor HH,,,time to pick on someone else!

November 1, 2006 at 02:34 AM · Neil -It IS an observation, as well as an opinion, if you like. And I did, and do again, emphasize "SOME". There are any number of amateurs in the best sense of the word - in the sense of that word relating to the word, "love". And we 'pros' love you right back. We need each other. In fact, after posting I actually thought "gee, maybe I should observe a little further first." But maybe I should thank you, Neil. By using such reckless and inflammatory words as "BS" and "garbage", you've proved my point all too well.

November 1, 2006 at 04:08 AM · Uhhhh.....peace treaty, anyone??

November 1, 2006 at 05:36 AM · Marc:

You are right, she does play the whole movement, which many do not. But, it is still the slowest tempo I have ever heard. The complete performances I've heard on recording have been anywhere from one to more than two minutes faster.

I can't think of anyone who plays the edited version adopting this slow a tempo. But I haven't heard everyone.

I'll stay out of the rest of the fray.


November 1, 2006 at 07:44 AM · The notion, aired by a few, that criticism of someone of Hahn's stature is necessarily motivated by envy is sometimes no doubt on the mark, and often very wide of it. It is also, to my mind, akin to the line that says that one can't have a valid critical opinion of a leading musician unless one is on their level - I know some non-musician music lovers who have far more insight, sometimes even knowledge in some respects, than many successful professionals. It all depends on how that criticism is expressed and how coherent the arguments are.

With regard to Hahn, I believe that criticism should be made with utmost regard for her achievements and ability (and actually has been by virtually everyone on this thread), for me primarily because whatever reservations one may have about her playing she does have integrity. She does also definitely strike me as intellectually curious, and her varied programming is really commendable. I'm not however convinced that her playing itself ultimately has an exceptional intellectual dimension - the fact that it is rather cool or classically inclined isn't the same thing. And if I bring to mind those violinists often thought of as "of the intellectual type" (for example and at random, Szigeti, Busch, Grumiaux, Goldberg, D.Oistrakh, Szeryng), there is plenty of guts and heart in their playing too! (Well actually, sometimes I find Szeryng a little lacking in heart, and anyway, the "intellectual" vs "visceral / instinctive" debate is too complex to be gone into here, as is the ubiquitous Heifetz debate...)

There's also this issue of perfect technique: this is too often thought of only in terms of clarity, polish, etc. But a very neglected aspect of technique is also about how to be able to draw the widest range of colours, shades, textures from your instrument - sometimes at the expense of clarity. Hahn's technique is stunning in the first respect, rather than in the latter.

Best, Nathaniel

PS: I have to confess that I've been extremely jealous of Ilya G. of late, but that's because I saw he was chilling out in Brazil recently.

November 1, 2006 at 10:51 AM · I find grumiaux -the oft considered paradigm of playing with the composer in mind- to be one of the most emotional players.

I have never heard HH live but I have heard that she can sometimes take the risks neede to invigorate her playing. Now I know there are some live videos on youtube but that is a tiny number of performances out of goodnes knows how many she has done.

Why do you listen to a certain piece of music? Is it to compare with other renditions, to critique for faults or is it because it seems like a piece that you want to hear then and there. Maybe, like a lot of us, HH is concerned that people listen for the first two reasons primarily and then the last and in doing so slightly loses sight of a truly personal rendition.

But I must reiterate my utmost respect for her and should she change her approach at some point in the future (she is still very young and she doesn't need to change much) then I believe she could be one of this generations greats.

Listen to milsteins paganini no.11 He isn't playing it even how it's written yet it is the best rendition (imo) of that caprice and makes it something truly beautiful without any artifice

November 1, 2006 at 12:01 PM · to discuss HH's style is different from criticising her musicality. Her approach is a path she has chosen and it is an individual decision or formation. and thank god we (hh vs others, me vs others) do not necessarily see eye to eye because otherwise all bach or mazart should sound alike. appreciate beauty by respecting variety. it is far more commendable to play alone than to play along. how many of us have the courage and curiosity to march on a path knowing it is less travelled?

not saying if you cannot outplay her then you cannot challenge her interpretation or presentation. give you and her time and a better time will come.

November 1, 2006 at 02:18 PM · Nathaniel, Florian, and Al - excellent posts! While I remain with my observations, there are certainly many examples to the contrary. You gentlemen - and others - have, in just the last few posts, more than demonstrated this with intelligence and articulateness!

November 1, 2006 at 06:13 PM · al, you have managed to sum my thoughts up exactly.

November 1, 2006 at 08:30 PM · OK, so following up on what I mentioned earlier...

(no one bit)

I don't mean to imply that technical alterations in the recording process make Hilary appear better than she is. Instead, I am suggesting that the human, spiritual elements and so- called "flaws" which are present in live performances are actually an overall part of the expressive experience which is "cleaned up" in editing. More importantly, in live performance,there is a natural pace to the emotional/expressive flow which is possibly "neutralized" by over editing in the recording process. The flow of the expression (which perhaps even the performer is only aware of peripherally while they are performing, but the audience is tuned into most of the time) can be interrupted by artificial means at times in the editing process. Trying to re-create a passage with multiple takes and digitized alterations taken out of context seems to me to confuse this expressive flow sometimes. The performance can become too "equalized" as a result. I suggest that this may play a role in the perception that some performers on CD are less expressive than in person.

Of course, the editing alone cannot take all the blame. One needs to judge the playback of the recording quite intensely for such problems, but they must also consider that their playing may very well need to reveal more of an expressive design.

But I did pose this as a serious question on this thread. Any reactions pro or con?

November 1, 2006 at 09:12 PM · Very true. Often the levels are adjusted such that FF and PP aren't too different (listen to classic FM for this) whereas radio 3 (sorry from england!) doesn't adjust the levels and thus you find yourself often turning hthe volume to hear it or turn it down. But although the volume is annoying the sound has so much more detail when untreated as opposed to the now normal practice of making everything as loud and uniform (so far as what comes out of the speakers) as possible (even in classical music, it's well known)

November 1, 2006 at 09:29 PM · I agree with your "expressive flow" thoughts. Psychologically we handle live and recordings differently. I think sometimes at least the "expressive flow" is the result of slight inaccuracies. As a recording, it's perceived as something that has to stand on its own for all eternity:) I'm sure some, if not all, producers would like everything out that could be criticized as imperfect. Everybody is working for the producer from what I've seen.

I don't think it's a technology issue really. You can usually tell recorded live from recorded in the studio, even on the radio. Milstein's Last Recital sounds live to me even though it's doctored some - not a peep from the audience, for example. But with a title like "... Recital" it had better sound live:)

November 1, 2006 at 09:36 PM · the main reason that live and studio recordings can be differentiated is microphone placement and input levels.

November 1, 2006 at 10:03 PM · I disagree. I disagree because there are so many variables possible in technical setups, both recording and playback, and you can still tell the difference. I'm not saying one can always tell though.

I had a strange experience the other day. There was an instrumentalist live in the studio on NPR and his playing somehow sounded to me like a studio CD instead of live. Very strange. It wasn't his sound quality or not making mistakes. The host would go "haa-haaaa" after he played and I think he was hearing that too. I missed his name unfortunately but he was a classical guitarist. It was a nice approach. Probably very easy to get a good CD out of him too:)

November 1, 2006 at 09:43 PM · If you ask me she should do other genres of music besides classical.Seeing Hilary Hahn with an electric violin would be fantastic,she would reap good financial benefits from it to. If she did explore other genres it would not only make her more diverse and creative musically but it would broaden her fan base and bank account.

November 1, 2006 at 10:06 PM · I agree Toni! And why stop there? She should aslo become a high class call girl who plays Paganini caprices while performing certain "favors" for the customer! Man oh man she'll have more Benjamins to stuff in her brazier than she ever did before!

November 1, 2006 at 09:59 PM · Toni, you've made your point already...

David, I totally agree about the "expressive flow" being chopped up if the recording is spliced. Whenever I play a piece, it is a self-contained, statement each time I play it, and each time I play it is slightly different. Splicing passages together would feel like taking the best chapters from a half-dozen different novels and expecting a Pulitzer prize-winning book out of it. :)

November 2, 2006 at 03:45 AM · The ultimate splicing is to splice every note--playing from a sampler achieves this. It is quite easy to sequence computer piano parts or drum parts that fool even the most careful listeners. But it is almost impossible to sequence a convincing solo computer violin part. So I agree with David here: splicing a violin performance requires more care than for some of the other instruments.

I should also point out that I am very impressed by HH's technique because she sounds, to me, as perfect as a computer. (This is meant as a compliment in the same sense as "beyond-human strength" or "beyond-human dexterity".) But there are many factors that I consider before I shell out cash for her CDs or her performances. With so many performers and so many CDs to choose from and the difference in prices, I just can't afford not to be picky and buy things that don't give me good bang for the buck or I'll go bankrupt. I think many consumers of violin music are in the same boat. And this brings to my next point.

With regards to consumers of violin music making "mean" comments about performances: Well, aren't they entitled to voice out honestly what they like and what they don't? After all, aren't they the ones who pay a bulk of the cash that support these players? In fact, I think the opinions of the consumers actually HELP some performers (and/or their agents and/or their coaches) to make adjustments if they think it's financially necessary. Of course, HH doesn't really need to hear any comments at all as she seems to be doing very well.

November 2, 2006 at 02:22 PM · Well...I think we've quite analyzed this poor girl to death! And we've gotten to the point of going around in circles over a few of the issues that have come up.

Maybe it IS time to "pick" on someone else! How about someone 'far less' contoversial - like Sonnenberg or Kennedy? :) I have this odd fantasy of wanting to see them paired-up for the Bach Double!

Meanwhile, I believe that The Divine Miss H will continue to grow and astonish.

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